The Los Angeles Lakers returned home to the Staples Center ready to end a four-game skid and despite the recent frustrations, the purple and gold are confident that they are making progress. However, they host the Detroit Pistons a team that is looking to end a three-game losing streak of their own after starting the season 5-1.
The Pistons will be finishing their back-to-back at Staples Center after losing their third straight to the Clippers 101-96 yesterday afternoon.
The Lakers will need strong performances their young guys in order to pull out a victory against a team that is also trying to get their season back on track.
Kobe kick-started the Lakers with a soft baseline jumper that hit nothing but the bottom of the net. Jordan Clarkson then got the offense going with a couple of back-to-back dimes followed by a three-pointer to give the Lakers an early 7-4 lead. Reggie Jackson answered back with back-to-back shots of his own to put the Pistons up by one. Clarkson then replied with yet another three of his own to take the lead 10-8. The Lakers had trouble taking care of the ball to begin the game with four turnovers midway through the first. Kentavious Caldwell- Pope started to rev up the Pistons, scoring eight of their first 14 points. Julius Randle finally ended a two-minute drought without a field goal on a nice finish at the rim to tie the game at 16. The Lakers second unit finished out the quarter with plenty of energy as they held a 21-18 lead after the first.
The Lakers started off the second quarter playing tenacious defense, forcing two early turnovers while Larry Nance Jr. got the offense going with back-to-back buckets capped off by a thunderous dunk to put the purple and gold ahead 23-18. The Lakers started to roll going on an 11-0 run before it was ended by a three from Jackson. Kobe started to get aggressive, attacking the rim for the and-one as the Lakers took a 32-25 lead. Kobe at this point led both teams in rebounds and assists with four each. Strong defense from Nance forced an Ersan Ilyasova turnover which then led to a Nick Young three, increasing the lead to nine. The Lakers at this point were shooting 3-for-5 from deep while holding the Pistons to just 29 points midway through the second quarter. Detroit suddenly got into rhythm with a 7-0 run of their own to cut the lead to three, 39-36. The Lakers finally ended the run with a beautiful assist from Kobe to Randle for the strong finish at the rim while getting fouled in the process, Julius would finish the three-point play. Kobe continued to share the love, finding D’Angelo Russell for the three with his sixth assist of the game, to put the Lakers up 47-38 with two minutes left in the half. The Pistons continued to battle back with runs of their own to close the gap 48-44 to end the half.
The second half started slowly for both teams until the Lakers struck first with a floater from Clarkson. Jackson then answered back with three to slim the lead 52-47. A mixture of tough defense and poor shooting from both teams as they combined for just four field goals with seven minutes left in the third quarter. Kobe continued to be a spark on offense with a nice layup followed by a dish to Roy Hibbert for his seventh assist of the game and a 56-51 Laker lead. Stiff defense from Los Angeles would lead to fast-break points from Russell on a dish by Randle to take a five-point lead. However, Detroit continued to answer the Lakers shot-for-shot with a bucket from Spencer Dinwiddie to bring the score to 58-57. Following a Randle jumper, the Pistons went on a 5-0 run to take a two-point lead with three minutes left in the third. Tough defense by the purple and gold would help them regain the lead with a dunk from Brandon Bass. The two sides continued to trade buckets as they ended the third quarter tied, 66-66.
Nick Young got the Lakers on the board first with a jumper. Williams split a pair of free throws, but the Pistons matched the Lakers every step of the way and a three from Tolliver put Detroit ahead 72-69. Kobe picked up his eighth assist with an outlet pass to Young and Williams found Bass for a layup as the Lakers regained a one point lead. A crazy possession ended in Kobe getting into the paint for a floater. A Nick Young three capped a 9-0 Lakers run as they went ahead 78-72. A massive alley-oop to Drummond ended that Lakers run and cut the lead to four points midway through the fourth. A pair of free throws from Hibbert put the Lakers back ahead by six. Kobe found Hibbert for an easy dunk and followed that up with a three pointer as the Lakers increased their lead to 11 with four minutes left. Dinwiddie converted a three-point play, but Clarkson hit a nice jumper in the paint to respond for the Lakers, who led by 10, 87-77 with under three minutes left. The Lakers pushed ahead by 12, but the Pistons continued to fight as Dinwiddie scored four straight to bring Detroit to within eight with 90 seconds left. Clarkson split a pair of free throws to keep LA up nine with just under a minute left. The Lakers got a stop to ice the game and they would pick up their second win of the season, 97-85.